How to Select the Best Grow Light for Your Indoor Garden
With the price of food on a steady incline, more people are making an effort to grow their own food sources at home. While having a functioning garden is easy during the warm summer months, when the days get shorter in the fall, gardeners have to get creative in helping plants grow. Many turn to grow lights to provide plants additional light and time to establish themselves. This indoor gardening trick allows you to bring the benefits of sunshine indoors to make the most of your garden. Here is a list of which plants to growduring each month of the year.
There are, however, a lot of different options when it comes to these lights and it can be overwhelming to pick the right one. The following list will help you identify which grow light will work the best for your needs.
The Best Grow Lights for Your Indoor Garden
Fluorescent lamps are great because they are inexpensive and readily available. Fluorescent tubes are great for installation under counters or on ledges and shelves. They provide enough light for seedlings, herbs, vegetables and some small house plants like African violets; however, they fluorescent tubes may not provide enough light for larger flowering plants or buds.
Compact Fluorescent Systems, on the other hand, are quite bright and can be used for growing most plants. Though the initial investment is a bit more up front, CFSs last up to 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs while only using a third of the electricity.
Incandescent lamps are affordable and can be bought at most hardware stores. They are sufficient for growing herbs or small houseplants, but they are not always a strong enough light source for growing vegetables.
High Intensity Discharge Bulbs
HID Bulbs are very bright and very efficient, but they are also quite expensive. There are a few different types of HID bulbs available, including High Pressure Sodium, Low Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, and Mercury Vapor bulbs, though for an indoor garden, you’ll want either the High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide bulbs (any of the other choices are overkill for what you’re trying to accomplish).
Bulbs aren’t the only things to consider when purchasing an indoor growing system. You’ll also need to acquire a ballast, cord, and reflector, though there is less variety in these components. You can buy each of these parts separately or as a complete kit. It’s best to price these systems and see what works best for your budget and your needs.
Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.